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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Vacation Planning Checklist-Crime Prevention


Many of us are rushing out the door when the time comes for our vacation. Before leaving, it’s important to create an appearance that someone is home and have your neighbors, family or friends help you out to reduce the risk of burglary. Burglars target homes that appear to be unoccupied. Below are some tips to mitigate vulnerability:

  • Don't post info about your vacation on social media until you return.
  • Hold your mail at
  • Stop newspaper delivery.
  • Make sure that packages are not sent to your residence while you are gone.
  • Arrange for a neighbor, friend or relative to put your garbage out on trash day. Also ask them to check and remove mail from unlocked mailboxes and take away newspapers in case your services aren’t properly canceled.
  • Ask neighbors to remove circulars or advertisements placed on your door.
  • Set indoor and outdoor lights that aren’t motion sensor activated on automatic timers. If you can remotely turn them on and off, that’s even better. Also, place television and radio on automatic timers.When people hear sound coming from inside a home, it seems as though someone is home. 
  • Provide your cell phone or a phone number to trusted neighbor(s) so that they can reach you if a problem arises.
  • Consider hiring a housesitter or having a relative stay in your home. If there are visitors to your home while you are out, let neighbors know so that they don’t mistake a guest for an burglar. If you have a Neighborhood Watch, let members know.
  • If no one is staying at your house, arrange for someone to park in your driveway to make it appear that there is activity at your home.
  • Arrange for a trusted friend to visit your house on occasion during your leave.
  • Maintain landscaping. This isn’t as problematic in winter months, but unkempt yards indicate that you are on vacation.
  • Consider storing valuable items, important documents and credit cards that you don't need to take with you in a place where no one will think to look. Safes are a good option if they are bolted to the floor and difficult to open and remove; they should also be placed in a location where a burglar won't think to look.  
  • If you have a monitored alarm system, make sure that your contact information is up-to-date in case there is an incident.
  • Ask neighbors to watch out for your home and call the police if there is suspicious activity. For incidents happening in Portland, they can contact 9-1-1 if there appears to be a crime in progress or an immediate threat to life or property. Otherwise they can contact the police non-emergency number at 503-823-3333.

When you return from your trip, return the favor and watch out for your neighbors while they are out.